Iran’s free trade zones accused of contributing to goods smuggling
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 28
By Khalid Kazimov – Trend:
Once the Iranian government set up the Free Trade and Special Economic Zones it was seeking to increase the country’s exports, but the critics of the plan now say the organization has failed to meet its goals.
The critics of the performance of the Free Trade and Special Economic Zones believe that the organization has led to a dramatic hike in the amount of the goods smuggled into the country.
"The latest reports and analysis prove that the free trade zones have turned into a hub for organized smuggling of goods into the country," Mehrdad Seyed Asgari, a Norway-based Iranian financial analyst, told Trend.
Seyed Asgari added that the idea behind forming the Free Trade and Special Economic Zones in the country was to contribute to the exports of domestic goods and commodities.
Hassan Hossein-Shahroudi, the secretary of Iran’s parliamentary commission for economy, also suggests that a considerable amount of goods are smuggled into the country through the official checkpoints, in particular the free trade zones.
The new Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari earlier said that about 90 percent of foreign goods offered in the Iranian market have been smuggled into the country.
However, the secretary of Iran's High Council of Free Trade and Special Economic Zones, Morteza Bank, earlier said the volume of goods exported from Iranian free trade and special economic zones has increased by 25 percent over the current fiscal year (started March 20), to reach $1 billion.
Back in May, the Iranian central task force for combating smuggling of commodities and currency has said that about $12 billion worth of goods were smuggled into the country over the last fiscal year.
Iran’s total non-oil exports (including gas condensate) in the first five months of current Iranian fiscal year stood at $17.193 billion, which indicates a fall by 5 percent year-on-year.
Iran imported 14.225 million tons of goods, worth $19.442 billion during the five-month period, which indicates a 7.1 and a 16.5 percent rise in terms of volume and value, respectively, compared to the same period of preceding year.